Crops are looking good so far

June 22, 2013 9:04 am
Kristen McEwen

Grain crops are doing well so far this growing season, and oilseeds are looking average, according to people in the local agriculture community.

"The wheat crop is excellent - it's definitely a bumper crop of wheat, and canola is looking like an average sort of a crop," said Chris Thomas of Parrish and Heimbecker in Moosomin.

"We're pretty fortunate here, we've had some pretty good weather patterns going through here," he said. "We've missed some nasty storms to the north and south. It's very good right now."

Similar conditions can be found a little further east in Fleming.
"Right now (crops) look good," Miles Fuchs said, who owns a farm in the Fleming area. "The cereals - especially wheat, oats, barley - look exceptionally good."
Fuchs mentioned that the canola appeared to be growing unevenly this year because of uneven germination in the wet spring.

Fuchs hasn't noticed any plant diseases on the crops so far.
"I was looking at some wheat this morning and it was really clean and green. I don't see anything in the canola," he said. "I know that I'm swathing some mixed hay and alfalfa and there are larvae for the alfalfa weevil. They don't seem to be causing a lot of harm but they are in there. They're noticeable when you're cutting them on the side of the machine in the evening when they start coming up. I think with most hay people are cutting it as quick as they can to avoid any real pest damage on it."

Fuchs said the growing conditions have been optimum.
"There's been a good combination of rain and heat, and a bit of wind keeping things dried out," he said. "The plants haven't had to spend a lot of time in very damp, humid conditions, so the growing conditions have been very good."

He said a bit of rain might help, though the water table is still very high.
According to the provincial crop report for the week of July 9 to 15, in the southeastern part of the province 53 per cent of fall cereals and 43 per cent of spring cereals are considered to be at normal stage of development at this time of year and 33 per cent of oilseeds and 52 per cent of pulse crops are considered to be at normal stage of development as well.

Livestock producers have 26 per cent of the hay crop out and 25 per cent baled or put into silage, according to the crop report. Hay quality at this time is rated 17 per cent excellent, 72 per cent good and 10 per cent fair.

"The cereals look pretty good, the oilseeds are struggling under wet conditions for the most part," said Craig Roy, a grain farmer in the Moosomin area.

"I think there are a few nice crops of canola in the area. There are maybe a few that were seeded a bit earlier but I think average would be the best description (for canola)," Roy said.

He also said he hadn't yet encountered any pests.
"Ther is a little bit of disease," Roy said. "We haven't sprayed our wheat for midge, but I understand there are a few people finding some midge. Ours isn't quite to that stage."

There are a few pests farmers need to look out for this summer, according to Dr. Owen Olfert of Agriculture and Agrifood Canada (AAFC)'s Prairie Pest Management Network (PPMN) in Saskatoon.

"Farmers will be noticing a fair number of grasshoppers," Olfert said.
"The reason (farmers will) be noticing them is that (the grasshoppers will have) become adults in the last few weeks and they'll start flying around. . . I don't think it's going to be a major problem even though they're out and about. Most of the crops are well advanced. Grasshopper damage is usually an early season issue when they first emerge for the soil."

Olfert mentioned that producers should be on lookout for canola pests such as Diamondback moths, a migratory insect that travels from the United States and Mexico, as well as Bertha Armyworms.

Livestock producers in the area are happy with the way things are going so far this year.

"It's been a good summer. I think we're good but the crops are looking fantastic. I think that will help the cattle business," said Kevin Woods of Westwood Land and Cattle.
"There's going to be more forage in the country and there'll be some more feed grain in the country because there will be a big crop coming. It's been a little drier than the past years, which definitely helps our performance in the feedlot because cattle don't like mud, and yet it hasn't been as wickedly hot as we've seen in the past couple of years as well."

He also added the price of U.S. corn has been coming down in the past few weeks.
"If the US corn crop continues to improve keep seeing a downward direction in that U.S. corn price, then it'll help fuel the price of Canadian feeder cattle, there's no doubt about that," Woods said.

Livestock producer Ron Dietrich also said weather conditions have been good so far this year.

"There's lots of grass - above average pasture conditions I would say," Dietrich said.
As a livestock producer, Dietrich said he has only run into one problem when it comes to baling hay.

"As far as the cattle is concerned now we're making hay for the winter and we are running into some problems with high humidity - it's making it difficult to bale the hay," he said.

"We need it down to 18 per cent or less and because the humidity's been so high it's been difficult to get the hay ready for baling."

Overall, producers are optimistic about this year's crop.
"It's a long way from the bin, but things are looking pretty good at this point in time," Thomas said.